tv Nominee Chuck Hagel CSPAN January 13, 2013 6:30pm-8:00pm EST
these guys cannot get anything done unless they absolutely have to. >> thanks for your questions for the new chair of the democratic caucus. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> today with author jason brennan. british prime minister david cameron. >> if you ask how many are self identified libertarians, depending on which poll you look at, you might get between 10% and 15%. if you give people a battery of questions by about different things and the new track those to different ideologies, depending on which poll you're looking at, you get up to 30% of americans. if you ask the following question, are you economically
conservative but socially liberal, you get over half of americans saying that is what they are. it does not necessarily mean they really believe them. if you ask most americans, do you want smaller government, they say yes. if you ask them about cutting anything on the budget, they do not want to cut anything. it is not clear if they really believe it. as low as 10% and as high as 30%. libertarians, if they were conscious and political, could be a big movement. they could have a lot of influence in politics. for various reasons, they're not organized that we right now. >> author jason brennan on what you might not know. tonight it o'clock on c-span q&a. -- 8:00 on c-span q&a. >> a discussion on president
obama's choice for secretary of defense. this is about an hour and 20 minutes. >> the military marching in formation. the rehearsal taking place on capitol hill. this in advance of the ceremonies that will get underway in eight days. a mild day in washington, d.c. to buttress to reach the mid- 60's. -- temperatures to reach the mid-60. -- mid-60's. we want to focus on the nomination of senator chuck hegel to be the next defense
secretary. the want to welcome two experts. terry schmidt and steve clemens. -- gary schmidt and steve clemons. did his nomination surprise you? >guest: it did not. when you began looking at the transition from leon panetta and asking what kind of person who would have in there, someone who would command competency and stature. he seemed an obvious choice. host: news from "the new york times." pointing out to republicans who called him and appeasers based on what he said in a rock.
he voted for the rock were but then turned against that conflict. the word appeasers seems to be pretty strong. -- iraq, but then turned aginst that conflict. the word "appeaser" seems to e pretde pretty strong. guest: the most important thing that happened during the war was the search. he voted against the surge. he called the worst mistake since the vietnam. when you're talking about putting somebody as secretary of defense and has such strong views, and wrong views, that is something that will be asking him. host: we're going to share with you some of the statements by senator haggle -- hagel.
also, a number of speeches he has delivered, to give you a chance to hear senator hagel in his own words. steve clemons, what does this nomination signal in terms of what the president wants to achieve? guest: two important things. it signals that he once an independent, no-nonsense voice at the table around the president. senator hegel's had a close relationship with president obama. i happen to know that the quality of conversation, the nature of the conversation is very direct, often not in agreement. the president is not bringing on board a yes, ma'am. this is about deploying power around the world, managing strategic assets around the world, managing a ship where the president has said very clearly,
we have overweighted our resources in the middle east. we have underweighted our presence in asia, dealing and looking at china. that is moving a giant ship of spending, resources. american men and women being moved different places. as we bring down that budget, smart choices need to happen. we have got hopefully the same degree of security deliverable, that is not just a function of money. he had two purple hearts. i think that is very important. this is a man who understands the nature and structure of military organizations. doppler that is what i think is
the issue. host: he talked about that in a 2005 interview. here is the president as he formally nominated him to be the next defense secretary, replacing leon panetta. [video clip] >> my friend of reference is geared towards the guy at the bottom who is doing the fighting and the dying. with chuck, our troops will always know, just like sergeant rigell was there for his own brother, secretary hazel will be there for you -- hagel will be there for you. host: how significant is like going to be in his thinking in terms of what he wants to do for the pentagon? guest: the real question is whether the military he served in is a military today.
-- is the military today. institutions are vastly different. we're talking about a volunteer force. a much different course than the one that was in vietnam. -- a force than one that was in vietnam. that does not give you the type of experience necessarily. hagel has made quite a few statements. i am not so sure that his experience and is up and being the right guy for secretary of defense.
host: these automatic spending cuts, $500 billion over the next decade. what does that portend as to what secretary hagel is going to say over the next year or so? guest: when you are making decisions about spending and technologies and investment, these are decisions that were crafted and sorted out a year ago. to think you can turn on a dime is very hard. the defense department, with a lot of white house guidance, has already been planning for this. it is a big shock to the system. i am one who thinks you can make substantial cuts. if you have that level of spending cuts, it would trade the equivalent of a depression.
he has to implement the law. he is going to have to make tough choices and do with the command staff of the pentagon and figure out how to make those as judiciously and protect the skeletal structure of the security capacity. guest: if you're dealing with a $500 billion front and cut, you would be shaving off quite a bit. but senator joe manchin has been out, showing the chart. u.s. seen the defense budget growth over the years. the number of american -- you have seen the defense budget to grow over the years. i suspect the contract and dimensions of this will be hit
very hard. you'll be cutting through a lot of muscle to try to keep the bones safe. guest: senator hagel said recently that the pentagon was bloated. he says it has not been a strategic review in years. the department of defense is already cut. there's already been chairman os martin dempsey has said that if the sequester goes through are
some cuts go through, -- or some cuts through -- the pentagon has been thinking about these things for the past four years. host: we're taking an in-depth look into senator chuck hagel, and we're using a lot of material from our video library. a lot of it is available to you as well. -- all of it is available to you as well. c-span.org. from 2006, senator hagel had this to say about the middle east. [video clip] >> the leaders of these countries and that particular region have failed the people. for their own reasons. not unlike much of the trouble over the years in africa.
it is not america's fault. the leaders themselves of those people and those countries and those regions have failed. have american companies taken an advantage? have there been plundering, abuses? of course. the responsibility for those regions of the world being held behind the rest on the shoulders of our leaders. as i have just catalog about three different reasons, now you see the manifestation. cultures have something to do with that. you cannot impose a democracy, no matter how well-intentioned
you are, on a region of the world that may be does not want it. or that does not have history or culture or aptitude to lay down in a democracy and say, now we will fix the problems. it does not happen that way. culture, tradition, religion, ethnic clans are all part of that. you work with the system. i talked about alliances. that is what alliances are important. you work with in those systems. to influence change, affect change. there's so many things going on in the world today that are disgusting, despicable, that we hate. sudan is a good example. we have limitations as to what
we can do to change that. we should always be about helping change that, people who want to change it. we have limitations. all powers, all individuals have limitations. nations must be wise enough to understand ho. host: chuck hagel. then-senator barack obama and chuck hagel traveling to the middle east. hagel co talks about the limits of power. guest: one of the conditions that president obama and his team said, a lot of demands and
expectations around the world. a lot of challenges. america's role is to not challenge the foes, but to be dependable for the allies. i think one of the real challenges is when you think strategically. when you had the middle east crisis, you had rising problems with north korea. that is what chuck hagel is talking about. you need to figure out how, given the limitations, it can matter in certain places. that is a realistic assessment. part of the role of the united
states is to go into the interior to redesign and so there are less a threat to the united states. when you have limited power, it makes someone like chuck tickle very skeptical of the ability of the united states to do that -- chuck hagel very skeptical of the ability of united states to do that. when he traveled with president obama, a think this was part of this discussion. host: what relationship does carry schmidt and senator hagel have? guest: if you look of a first term of the obama administration, there were doubts about his foreign policy and. it was natural for him to pick then-senator clinton to be secretary of state.
i think in a second term, he is not running for reelection. he is more inclined to pick somebody he is comfortable with. the gun along in the senate, so presumably they will get along in it administrations -- they got along in the senate, so presumably they will get along in the administration. i think the fundamental reason, senator hagel, he and the president are in lock step. one of the things it should be done in the hearings for the nomination, and the things about american power and leadership, it is fine to talk about the limits of power.
everyone should understand hard limits to power. i think that issue, that debate can be used fully put on the table when senator hagel is before committees. host: whopper we dig the life and careewe dig into the lr of senator chuck hagel. i want to point out a "that is beginning a lot of attention. -- quote that has been gettin ga lot og a lot of attention. "the jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here," referring to capitol hill.
"again, i have argued against some of the dumb things to do because i don't think it's in the interest of israel. i just don't think it's smart for israel." guest: i have no way of knowing and i doubt that hagel is anti- semitic. the most troubling part of that has to do with the fact that he goes on to say, i am u.s. senator, i am not the senator from israel. the troubling part of that is the subtle suggestion that if you disagree with him about u.s. policies towards israel and the middle east, there is a loyalty question at stake.
karen david miller was a negotiator for -- aaron david miller was a negotiator. people can actually go and listen to the various recordings he did on u.s., israel issues. we have evolved -- it is a complicated issue. many people have tried to discuss it. it is a question of, what are israel's interests. there's a legitimate debate that is more actively had in tel aviv and jerusalem than in washington. general jim jones said that israel right now is confusing its short term versus long-term interests. today's strategy is like in new orleans levee. thee protecting israel from
storm around it. eventually if you do not mitigate the storm, it can become substantial. hagel said, we cannot make a choice between are rock solid relationship with israel, but we have vital relationships with other countries in the neighborhood. and congress, the senate and house, got some interest groups want to see is a zero sum game. -- what some interest groups want to see is a zero sum game. that is what he is saying is not constructive. i interviewed the former chief of naval operations in israel about his relationship with hagel. he recounted some been very interesting. -- something very interesting.
there was one in particular that had to do with pressuring russia on jews inside russia. 99 senators signed on to a media platform calling for something. hagel refused. he had written to president clinton about this exact case, received a letter from clinton, had a commitment from clinton to make certain actions. hagel was moving privately. they're upset he did not sign on to the letter. because of not banned widening and falling with the tribe, there is the concern of its independence -- bandwagoning and following the tribe, there is a
concern about his independence. caller: he was against the sanctions against iran. if he has been advising as president, no one would say we are winning in afghanistan. under obama, 80% of the injuries have occurred in afghanistan. does that sound like we are winning? guest: of me go back for a second. -- let me go back for a second. by talking about, i am not the senator from israel, the problem with that is it suggests that those who have strong strategic view is about the u.s.-israel relationship are somehow in the pocket of israelis.
i think that is wrong. there are solid, strategic reasons for the relationship. painting the other side as being on thoughtful about that relationship is wrong. on afghanistan, senator hagel -- when the iraq war was going poorly, senator hagel said, we've taken our eye off the ball. the greatest threat to united states faces is between the mountains of pakistan and afghanistan. previouslythese are issues thate addressed. where does he think afghanistan is going to go? what did he think at this one point that it was such a vital and strategic interest?
the president himself tries to address that issue. senator hagel has made a lot of statements over the years about the middle east and central asia that i think have to be addressed. it is not simply about israel and the u.s.. it is about the statements and the votes that senator hagel been made, sanctions on iran, talking with the dictatorship in syria about not signing a resolution be, asking europe to designate hezbollah as a terrorist organization. votes against signaling that the i iranian revolutionary
guard was a terrorist organization. all these things that suggest that his views about the middle east and the palestinian-is really conflict, brought together with those -- israeli conflict, brought together with those other statements. people often say that presidents should be given to deference to his appointees. i agree with that. yes made a lot of statements that have implications for current policy -- he has made a lot of statements that have implications for current policy that need to be addressed. host: this is from one of our viewers. his panel is, north of boston. chuck hagel expresses a deep strain of midwestern skepticism
and frugality about foreign adventures. he talked about the afghanistan. this for very of last year. mayor -- from february of last year. [video clip] >> this is our 11th year in afghanistan. that reality is washing over a nation possibility to sustain that work. -- nation's possibility to sustain the war. in the end, it will be the afghanistan people that have to decide what kind of government the want and what they want to do. the other part of this you have not mentioned is pakistan. pakistan is the most important and critical element in this entire equation.
i think at this point, and i think leon panetta and the president, and they are right with the direction that are taking this. accelerate the combat timeline, which drawn in nato and american forces out of there and down eventually, because the international peace conference is probably what is going to be required, and when i say " international peace conference," i think they're going to have to bring the iranians in. they will have to bring in the taliban, the government of afghanistan, others. i do not know how else you resolve this, and this is going to go on for awhile. this will not be resolved with just one peace treaty, but the continuation of the past we are on now is only going to make it worse. we have a situation in afghanistan where we are right
on the cost of losing an ally in a very serious way. we do not want that to happen, because then, we become a loose from all of our diplomatic moorings, and as you say, we still have troops in afghanistan. iran is on the other side. iraq is having difficulties. that entire area is so combustible and dangerous right now, so this, again, is an example of how we have to be careful with how we train our way through this and to think strategically and not tactically. host go most notably, the visit with president karzai last week and the announcement in the u.s. on friday that the u.s. is essentially speeding up its withdrawal from afghanistan. guest go i think that is very important because it is freeing up assets, and countries like iran and others are looking at the idea that america will have
more capacity and is less tied down. i think that is important. we have to remember there are a couple of factors. one, chuck kate: , if confirmed, will follow the president's policy stance. the senate confirmation hearings are wonderful exercises. it is just like watching c-span. you can learn so much you do not know. the questions, the doubts that we have will be seen it. they become wonderful case studies and records on the way this should take place. if you see the imbroglio in the area right now, we need to think strategically and not tactically, senator hegel will think about russia. russia is a patron of syria. we have a lot to deal with when we confront with them. iran, clearly, syria is a proxy for iran, and israel and being
on the border, and turkey, which is an ally of the united states. you want to think about what the right justification is in -- is before you sent in troops and put them in harm's way. that is the way chuck cagla generally approaches these questions and really quite myers, in my view, tough to resolve, but that is the way he thinks, and i respect that calculus. close to what about syria as well as the sudan? >> i think he will support the president's plan, certainly our main but not fully arming, and putting other pressure, but i do not think he supports at all injecting u.s. troops.
no-fly zones and the kinds of things that we took on libya, that the libyan model does not apply to syria as it is constructed right now. gus: if you are just joining us, we are drilling down on the life of chuck hegel, his speeches, and we are using excerpts come on all of which are available on our website at c-span.org, part of the c-span video library. joining us is an editor at large fork "the atlantic," gary schmitt, and steve clemons. >> chuck kate: said that was not particularly in the national interest, which people can debate about, but then they said they thought syria was. it is a little confusing. syria becomes a point of contention, what has been
basically backed off of. syria is a problem. but on the other hand, letting the other states determine who is going to wind up being in the leadership, and in the absence of the american leadership, the results are going to be far worse for the united states' interests, and more. gus: patrick, are you with us? we will try one more time. are you with us? we will go to corpus christi, texas. go ahead, independent line. caller go -- colorado -- caller: he has been making vacillating statements.
with the context, he obviously never was. chuck kate: has made some comments. with john kerry for secretary of state, why not check cable for defense? coast go ok. gus: i know someone who would have something to say about that. coastal this is from -- post co this is -- hostco: this is from an interview -- host: this is from an interview. being openly and gay, we have to point out that senator hegel has apologized for those remarks, saying they were ill founded --
senator hagel has said they were ill founded. >> i do think both his record on domestic issues, whether it be guns or abortion or gay rights, it is not just that. there are votes, various positions with the u.s. military having to deal with gay rights, and the naacp gave him very low marks for his civil rights record. all of this raised the question as to why the president would want him. and there are things that have to be paid attention to, like, given the record, given the backing of susan rice, why is he so upset with having senator
hagel as the secretary of defense? looking to retrench military power in the world, so there is going to be a fundamental choice being made for the next four years, and secretary hagel just part of is that debate. >> trying to pick a fight, figuring out where to move, you want to have a fight for this going simultaneously? if he picks susan rice? guest: there was an interview, and i think that had those simultaneously been going on, susan rice would have deflected
some of the attention. other nominations, like john brennan, which is controversial in some comment -- in some quarters, and john kerry -- i was the on the want to have written about this two years ago, because i had conversations with them about my own view is that at the time we will still pursuing -- part of the defense department, and trying to purge them from military service. this is one that they were attempting to sort out. it had not been repealed yet, and hagel made his opinion very clear. i have since talked to him about this.
and the ambassador has greatly accepted his apology, and in addition, senator hagel says he strongly supports lgbt families, and he has gone beyond this, like on abortion, and one of the things we do not talk about is violence towards women and women in uniform in the military, rapes at the academy, and a senator passed an amendment as part of the national defense authorization act, giving support. they want to do more to really deal with this and focus on the problem of violence, so i think he is stepping forward. and as the president has evolved, i think the senator will make it known that this is not just a move with his
nomination. he has been evolving for some time. but the gay rights groups have not done much. reaching out to people like hagel, and asking, "what are your views?" that just has not happened, so we are going back to look at those, and there are issues of concern that are important. host: there is this, it -- any thoughts about that? guest: i am not opposed to gays in the military. we have to figure that had to best accommodate that change, and i think the intelligence community has, for years, also
moved ahead, because it is not an issue if you are gay or not. it is about not becoming a security risk, so i think things have changed, and there will not be a debate about those issues. host: it is the son of a round table, and the president's pick to be the next defense secretary -- it is the sunday round table. keith is joining us from woodbridge, virginia. republican line. good morning. caller: i think that chuck hegel -- hagel has independent thinking. there was this comment about chuck hagel's war.
figuring out what john mccain is saying. military readiness and military action. stop taking advice from these guys and start looking at people -- as opposed to these couch talkers. host: thank you. can we look at this relationship between chuck hagel and john mccain? both veterans from the vietnam war, and they were friends, and the question became whether or not john mccain would support him. guest: i think there was a natural affinity between them due to their service in vietnam, and i know senator mccain -- i do not know senator hagel
personally, but i do know john mccain, and he reaches out across the aisle, so he is a very personable person, but i do think over time, the differences of the senators about iraq and afghanistan and other issues and also questions about who senator hagel was going to support, who he supported in 2008, all of this leads to something. that they are no longer best buddies does not surprise anyone, because at the end of the day, washington is about politics, and people have diametrically opposed opinions about these key security matters, it is natural they would fall apart. host: chuck hagel was the chair of a panel, and i went to share with you some of his comments.
>> we do have some rather significant evidence that sanctions are working, and they are working because we, our government, our policies, imperfect, every policy has problems, but nonetheless, it has accomplished something even bigger than sanctions, and that is they have brought a consensus together of most countries. the european union. the chinese are involved. the russians are involved. we have a rather significant consensus on this issue up to a point, and i think all you need to do is reflect on the united nations, their vote on this, as a pretty good indicator. that vote will not change the dynamics, but looking at what our task force has come up with,
are we not far wiser, rather than getting ourselves into a predicament? we know that wars -- most of the time, and especially today, they have unintended consequences. they have uncontrollable consequences. we live in a global community. and i think, again, we should factor this in. we recognize that the real world is about risks. based on that risk analysis. is it riskier to go to war?
hip hop or is it riskier to pursue the policies we are pursuing -- or is it riskier to pursue the policies we are pursuing? as the ambassador has noted, we are the mightiest military force in the world. the world has never seen such. for bug that needs to be tempered with a purpose. host: with what is being said about iran, what is really said this morning in "the new york times," he says --
he has been all over the map on military options. he has been for them. and then a controversial thing, senator hagel has written -- on iran, i think there are a lot of questions to be asked. yes, that is the typical way we proceed. i would say that it is very unclear. i think it is clear that the president has committed himself to treat himself to military options. host: on that point, steve
clemons? guest: i think this idea of war as a last resort, i think in this case -- i have paid a lot of attention to how senator hagel has framed a military option. only as a last, last resort, and then we have to be aware of the consequence. as much as the world hates and disdains the united states for the actions it has taken, but then the unexpected consequences from a strategic shift. it has to be clear eyed about what the other impacts will be. it will not be in a defined box when you have something like a real collision between a nation like iran and the united states.
it is a disruptive global event, and we have to be very, very clear. i think we will hear that when he gives testimony in the senate. "new york times" magazine -- guest: i think he has had conversations with the president of the united states that we have not had. this is not a president who wants to be known as anna pease air, with iran coming out with the bomb, and i think if the came to that level -- who does not want to be known as an appeaser. host: -- guest: i disagree with that
totally. guest: having susan rice, i think the last thing he wants to do is lose senator hagel. host: gary schmitt and steve clemons. democrats line. caller: i do not understand what all of our leaders have to be vetted by israel. so i disagree with your statement. anytime anybody says something about israel, the first thing they are labeled is anti- semitic. host: ok, thank you for your call. looking back, we are going to hear first from the secretary of state's. i think it is a broad overview,
and then questioning from senator chuck hagel,, this before the committee. >> i have just come back, and the secretary is out there now. i came back with the following set of impressions from it. first of all, that they are very concerned about what is going on in iraq. they understand about the problem of weapons of mass destruction and that they do threatened them, but it is less visible i think that's a cross border threat. second, they are fully convinced that this crisis has been created. they are concerned about the iraqi people, as are we, which is why we support this oil for food plant that we wrote initially with resolution 986, it is supposed to be expanded by kofi annan, and they also prefer
a diplomatic route, but they also understand that should there be consequences, they are the responsibility of saddam hussein. they would be responsible for the grave consequences, so i feel confident of their support. they state they have domestic audiences, and they state their support for their own purposes, but i do feel that should we use force, they will be helpful to us, and i think they do understand the dangers, but it is not the same situation as when saddam hussein invaded kuwait, and there were six months to prepare, to put together a coalition, which was primarily a u.s.-u.k. operation. >> do you believe part of this problem is the perception in the arab world that we have tilted way to a far towards israel in the peace process? >> some of them think that.
i do not think that. >> you do not? >> no, i do not. these are two separate issues. clearly, difficult ones, but my sense is we have to deal with both of them. we have to look at our national interests and look at them both separately. we have ties with israel that are indissoluble, and looking at the peace process, which i do, and so does the president, and i think that some of them have stated those views, but i do not agree. >> but surely, you agree that they are linked. you do not agree that there is a link between the middle east peace process and this? >> i prefer not to make that linkage. yes. host: based on that line of questioning, one person says he cannot support chuck hagel, that
iran has said the worst message to our greatest ally and our worst middle eastern enemies. guest: i think what you saw with secretary madeleine albright is a sense that he does not believe america can avoid choices between vital allies, and i frankly support that view. i think it is very mature. one of the subjects that does not come up is how many legislators -- we heard president obama and vice president biden looking at their relationship, but the fact is, these countries have many ways in which they see the world together, and there are differences. but there is a lot of pressure in the town not to talk about the differences. i think that is what judge cable is getting at. the other, that disturbed me about israel vetting candidates,
israel is not the vetting candidates. the deputy foreign minister of israel has issued very strong, solid comments supporting him, saying he is a friend and that he supports his decision making and that he does not have a problem with his nomination. people trying to imagine the israeli government's opinion on this, why not look at them. there are some issues laid out, but i do think it would be wrong to settle is real with comments that it government leaders have not made. guest: steve is right. i would say that that clip that iran does get back to this theme with the senate career, making the israeli-palestinian issue central to the middle east
policy. i think that represents a long curve train of discussions, of votes engaged in. what is not true. for example, taking the example of iran, the saudis and others are much more concerned about us being strong vis a vis iran, and their friendship with us, and they're working with us has more to do with those strategic interests than whether or not israel and palestine, the palestinians are able to work out their difficulties. the final thing i would say on that other senators position, it is also the case that if you go back and look at the statements of senator hagel, the terrorism right after the clinton administration, bringing the
palestinians and israel together, what arafat walked away from, there are too many times where the senator made comments suggesting more of equivalence between israel and the palestinians that i think disturbs a number of people, and rightfully so. host: he wrote about leaving iraq honorably. he said that would be determined by the iraqis, but he went on to say this. we are destroying this structure. it allows the administration to duck tough questions in defending its policies. congress has abrogated its oversight responsibilities. guest: i think he is absolutely
right. it may feel different today, but transport yourself back three or four years ago. there was a sense that you did hear from our allies that the american military was overstretched, and when you conveyed being overstretched and at the limits budgetary early in militarily, your allies do not depend on you as much as they did, in your enemies will move their agenda forward. agel wassenator h talking about this. if you look at making americans safe, we had terrorists in the country and a massive rise in defense spending. just the defense budget itself. we spent $2.70 trillion above that base line, including for inflation, since 9/11 to make americans feel safe, and that is justified in many ways, but we
are not having an honest discussion with the public. we are not looking at the security and the trade-offs that are happening, and we have spent a huge amount of money, but americans have not been feeling as safe as they should. he made comments, probably on c- span, as well, that you are not unpatriotic to ask questions of your government. it is patriotic to ask these questions. we should be having these debates and dialogues, and i think he is trying to make that. host: gary schmitt? guest: yes, i think many made comments, but the answer was not, let's get out and cut defense. the bush administration -- it was not until 2006 and 2007 --
something proposed in 2003, but they wasted several years, and there are plenty of criticisms for that waste. cut and run. the idea was to do precisely what we did. increase the force levels and change the strategy. we did not stay with it, and we are not staying with it in afghanistan. we are seeing how it is playing out in iraq, and that is not good. see an afghano stand. host: one person wrote -- you can check these out on c- span.org.
let's go to our minds. gary schmitt and steve clemons. carl, we will try one more time. we will go to jerome, democrats line. good morning. caller: i am a registered democrat, and i want to force say, thank you to the cable companies, thank you for c-span. my comment about senator hegel, i think a lot of people that would be opposing senator hagel are doing so because they cannot believe that an enlisted man in the army could rise to the post of secretary of defense. and that is all i have to say. host: thanks for the call.
you touched on that earlier. guest: i do not think it prohibits you or give you an advantage. that does not mean that this is not vastly appreciated. i just do not think the evidence is there. host: the single biggest policy blunder in history. guest: ok, i am going back. senator hagel votes for it, and a lot of people voted for it. i think, in fact, they wasted 3.5 to four years, and the
confidence about the american people on these things, and president bush ordered the surge. by the time the search was over with, there was instability in iraq that has gone down. and then the question is, where you going to stay there? would it be in stable? it is impossible to say. host: a writer in "the washington post."
there was the movie, "lincoln." moving to a band of brothers. you wanted to respond to something else? guest: there will be more on the birthday of abraham lincoln. host: and the oscars are 10 days later. so that is another program. guest: john kerry and others, you have four guys who worked in that. they did work together. i would simply say -- i remember david petraeus, when he was testifying in afghanistan, he was asked about a question about strategy about inside the broader strategic objectives. he said, "that is not my job. i can tell me what the trade-
offs are. and i respect gary schmitt very much. i believe we were completely right to go after osama bin laden to the ends of the earth, completely right to decimate al qaeda. i thought the rationale was different. you have an incredible opportunity. our decision to take out the chief thorne was saddam hussein. when you get a real test, there is a much more interest driven
calculation about what dynamics you set up for iran, in iran clearly began growing, and the was the assessment that we were tied down. the former head of the national security at the hudson institute also said that iraq was the greatest strategic issue. you can ask yourselves at the end of the day, do you think we helped or hurt america? and you had better be darn sure
that returns to the united states should not be sentimental, emotional, or reckless that drives the serviceman to be deployed. host: it morning. caller: chuck hagel is a tough one to pin down. i agreed with the surge. president eisenhower, they are all like hagel, midwesterners, and i do not see anything wrong with that. you have got to go back into work. i do not see chuck cable as an easy -- chuck hagel as an easy
yes or no. host: how many allies does he have in the senate? maybe i should ask how many republican allies? guest: when i worked for the senate, and i worked for a democrat, you could see senators walked in. some of the other senators walked up and would start chatting. i am not trying to suggest there is something wrong with this, but they kept their distance. senator joe biden was one of those. and i gather he was one of those. they are not naturally senate people. that does not mean that they do not have friends, but it also
does not mean that they have a whole lot of warm ties. he grew to be one, but he was not initially. senator biden actually had hair. it was a long time ago. before he had hair. i would say that senator ha gel's personal ties are dated. he has been out for a while. terms of republican support, i would say it is very thin to nonexistent. we will have to see what happens. i do not think many people would be voting for him because of friendship. host: you can watch or listen on c-span radio. we are talking with steve clemons, and gary schmitt.
our focus, the nomination of chuck hagel. next, a democrat joining us from tennessee. good morning. caller: the republicans are going against everything and everybody that he puts up there. hadfields to be in a war and get hurt. not until you walk in your shoes. it is time for them to wake up. host: he has sacrificed a great deal, but nevertheless, i do not
think that is the issue. the of the things i would say is it is not clear that senator hagel, he may not get many votes from republicans, but he may get some. more libertarian positions on foreign policy, and they would probably be more supportive than perhaps they would be supportive of a republican that had been in the white house. it is not clear that this division is simply republican versus democrat. host: this program is carried live on sundays. in london. go ahead. caller: it is a great discussion.
thank you for giving us the opportunity. i am not american. i am and iranian. i have never been in the united states, but we used to have neighbors that were american. it is strange to me this obsession among the politically lead involving israel. it must be about officials in iran and israel, because i come from a country within which for 2000 years, there is some
background with israel. my family is not currently jews. that we would hate them or that they would hate us. the problem that iran has is that it has been surrounded by 17 or god knows how many arab countries for the past 1400 years. host: we will start with that point and give a chance for our guests to respond. guest: there has been a long history. i have known many people who were immigrants. iranian, jewish people living in the united states. this is complicated for a number of people. i think the broader question is, can we not get altogether?
these are states with objectives. there is the iranian nuclear ambitions as well as the is really concerned about security and equities in the world, and that is why these discussions are so important, and we do not know the outcome. there is no easy answer to these questions. host: this issue will get a lot of coverage. we want to show you a pass statement where he reacted to the surge, the increase of troops in that country and what it means for the u.s. this runs about three minutes. >> i do not agree with that escalation, and i would further note that when you say, as you have your this morning, that we need to address and help the iraqis and pay attention to the fact that iraqis are being killed, madam secretary, iraqis
are killing iraqis. we are in a civil war. this is sectarian violence. worse, it is interest sectarian violence, -- inter-sectarian violence. shia killing shia. first, in my opinion, it is morally wrong. it is practically end -- strategically and tactically wrong. we will not win this in the least. for the more, you talk about skepticism and pessimism in the american people and some in congress. that is not some kind of a subjective analysis. that is because, madam secretary, we have been here almost four years, and there is a reason for that skepticism and pessimism, and that is based on the facts on the ground.
been there are some that believe the appropriate focus is not to escalate but to try to find a broader incorporation of a framework, and it will have to be certainly regional. many of us have been saying that all long time. but it has to be more than regional. it has to be internationally sponsored, and that has to include iran and syria. when your engaging chairman biden on this issue, will our troops go on pursuit, based on what the president said last night, you cannot sit here today because you are dishonest or cannot understand, but no one can sit here today and tell us
we cannot engage the iranians and syrians. some of us remember 1970, madam secretary, and so, madam secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that is being talked about here, it is very dangerous. and i have to say, madam secretary, this speech, given last night, by the president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder since vietnam, if it is carried out. host: i wanted to share with you a comment. "condi looks like she could kill with those eyes."
that became a defining moment in chuck hagel's career. guest: senator hagel turned out to be completely wrong. as far as the secretary of state'syeyes, the stare from her, i do think she could have killed him. could secure their vote on the strength of those remarks alone. guest: i think he was right. i mean, gary, i think that shot hagel was completely right. those were defining moment. it was a lightning strike and how they view the situation. gary and some of his colleagues see that as the moment that chuck hagel structurally. -- brokeaway from the infrastructure at the time. as they were defining it at that time, and i came out of a realist tradition.
i used to run the nixon center in town. the nixon wing of the republican foreign-policy establishment largely applauded chuck hagel. this is not democrats versus republicans. these are views about the world and strategy which exist inside both parties. i think we make a mistake. i wish we had a realistic line versus other lines. you would find it is an interesting and useful learning moment. i do think it is one of the reasons why someone of my ilk has so much respect for senator hagel. john mccain is a true national hero, so is chuck hagel. i have been at dinners, i was the emcee at the nixon dinner paying tribute to john kyl. john mccain did the opening. this is not a war between people. we often over-emphasize these
questions of division. these are real debates. this is why we are here. this is why we have the capital behind us for these major discussions. i think it was a problem for chuck hagel because he demonstrated independence of thought and questioning that was vital for the country. host: i want to go back to something you said and frame it in terms of what the president said. about and afghanistan, saying iraq was a war of choice. afghanistan was a war of necessity and iraq was a war of choice. was iraq necessary? and if so, why? what did we accomplish? guest: we have not accomplished much. host: so was it worth it? guest: it depends on a lot of factors that are out of my control. terrible tyrant to his people there is no question we're better off with him gone. then the question is how we implemented doing that. i think the bush and
administration did a very poor job straining the credibility and the american public's willingness to stay the course. the new president decided iraq was not where he wanted to put a strategic emphasis. we pulled out. could things have been different if the surge had happened in 2003? we would probably be talking about a much different history american interests. it is hard to say it was worth it. complete failure. host: this tweet says everything chuck hagel said was right. can you tell us where he was fundamentals. the surge did work. it was not a huge mistake.
there is a tendency for senator hagel to talk about vietnam experiences and use that to think about everything else that has happened since. he is wrong. he is often the because of the iraq war, syria and iran were the key to stabilizing iraq. that was not the case. problems in stabilizing iraq. senator hagel is often noted for his independence in judgment, wrong. host: the next caller joins us from new york. good morning. caller: i was looking at the military service of mr. hagel. [no audio]
in the aisle in a bipartisan way. [indiscernible] host: you are breaking up. we missed the first part. caller: the credentials technical have are quite impressive. i believe the president is reaching across party lines with the appointment. i think he is doing a good job. i think we should appoint this man so we can move ahead instead of looking at the mistakes made by these people and try to learn from those mistakes and go on. why are we not reaching across partisan lines? we need to be bipartisan on middle east issues. they are very sensitive. i am concerned we need to move forward and stop the delay. congress has enough gridlock already. they need to do something. thank you.
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> tomorrow, gretchen morgenson on the mortgage lending rules, and then a talk on debt ceiling options. after, alcohol, tobacco, and firearms bureau' evan perez, tomorrow on "washington journal," 7:00 a.m. eastern. with the inauguration just seven days away, preparations were outside the capital, with stand- in's for the president, first lady, joe biden, and his wife. it is one of the many ceremonies taking place on inauguration day.